After everyone enjoyed the last blog ‘through the eyes of the guest’, I thought I would write another along the same lines when I was in on a secret that no one else knew about…
It all started when Nick Creasy, the Devon Young Farmers County Organiser at the time phoned our office to discuss holding a dinner at the new chairman and secretaries training weekend. The weekend is held for the new chairmen and secretaries for all the clubs in Devon to come together for a weekend of training and team building activities. Nick had the idea of holding a surprise dinner that no one in attendance would know about, in order to try and keep everyone together in one group.
I, as the new secretary of Newton St Cyres Young Farmers Club, was invited to the weekend. So when the phone rang and Jo put it on loud speaker so Caroline could be part of the conversation; the surprise was out. I sat there quietly listening to the conversation, grinning away. Nick asked for a simple 3 course menu with 1 option for each course and a vegetarian option. So myself and Caroline put together a menu that I thought the young farmers would like, which Nick later approved.
The dinner was booked and Nick insisted that nobody knew apart from Jo, Caroline and himself, not even the county officers were to know. I remained silent, not even telling my own club chairman. In the week prior, Jo confessed to Nick that I had known all along but reassured him I had told nobody. When my fellow young farmers were questioning why we had been asked to take our dresses and suits, I went along with it. The evening came and everyone was getting more and more frustrated (of course I acted frustrated too). The bus arrived to collect us and everyone was asking where we were going … but I knew exactly where we were going… Belstone.
As we arrived at Belstone Village Hall with the Oaktree van parked outside, Alison, a previous Oaktree team member, looked at me, exclaiming…. YOU KNEW!! At which point the secret was out, everyone found out that I had known all along.
As we entered the hall, the Oaktree team greeted us with Pimms and lemonade, and beers before we sat down to network with people across the county and share ideas.
For starter, we were served homemade leek and potato soup with creme fraiche and chives with artisan breads and Devon butter, a true seasonal Winter warmer. For main course, we were received a favourite among the farming community, roast topside of Devon beef sourced from our local butchers here in Okehampton, with homemade Yorkshire puddings and rich gravy along with dishes of crispy roast potatoes, carrots, broccoli and braised red cabbage.
To finish with a sweeter note, we were served Caroline’s ever popular sticky toffee pudding with lashings of sticky toffee sauce and Devon clotted cream, followed by fresh filter coffee and English breakfast tea.
Each course was served swiftly and cleared away quickly and seamlessly without us barely even knowing they were there.
Afterwards we were left to sit back and enjoy a speech from a former member and previous Devon county chairman, Paul Glanvill, before jumping back on the bus to Wetherspoons in Okehampton – where I was later grilled for not telling anyone. The evening was a great success and a big thank you must go to Nick for organising the surprise single handed.
I am very much looking forward to the Oaktree team catering for our club’s annual dinner and dance at Harefield Barn this coming November. If you would like the Oaktree team to look after your Young Farmers event, please do get in touch, we would love to talk you and can help recommend venues near you to suit your guest numbers.